WORK has started on replacing an unusual 93-year-old gas main in a residential area.

Cadent, which manages the North West’s gas supply network, is replacing the old piping in Stoneyholme to maintain the safe delivery of gas to homes.

Last year while working on the 30-inch diameter gas main they found it was square rather than round as normal.

The pipe, 30 inches in diameter - which runs underneath Burns Street, Brougham Street and Oswald Street – was installed in 1926.

It has been identified for replacement by Cadent as part of the company’s 30-year, multi-million-pound programme to upgrade its ageing assets.

Last year engineers working in the area were surprised to discover the rectangular gas main devised by engineers in the 1920s to carry gas over an unmapped coal tunnel.

Cadent is spending £150,000 to upgrade 300 metres of the main.

Burns Street is currently closed at its junction with Brougham Street for the work.

Schools breaking-up for summer at the end of this week will bring the closure in both directions of Brougham Street between Oswald Street and Burns Street with traffic directed to follow a signed diversion route.

The engineers will work in Oswald Street during the holiday period but will keep a lane open for motorists with traffic flow managed by temporary signals.

All work is scheduled for completion before Burnley Stoneyholme Primary School reopens after the summer break.

Craig Horrocks, head of Cadent’s mains replacement team, said: “This is vital work, future-proofing our gas mains so customers in Burnley can receive safe and reliable supplies for heating their homes and cooking meals.

"The start of work in Stoneyholme is actually the culmination of months of planning, including liaising with Lancashire County Council, to agree the best time to carry out the work and how best to safely manage pedestrians and traffic."

More than 85 per cent of the 31,946 households in Burnley use gas for central heating, with many also using it for cooking meals and hot water.